Following a number of horrifying crimes committed by prisoners on parole in Queensland, including the 2015 murder of a Townsville grandmother just hours after her killer was released, Queensland parliament has committed to a raft of changes in one of the biggest parole reforms in the state’s history.
After receiving 91 recommendations from a report into the state’s parole system by former solicitor-general Walter Sofronoff QC, the Palaszczuk government is planning to introduce new legislation later this year.
One of these changes is the controversial “no body, no parole” law, which would mean that prisoners incarcerated for murder or manslaughter would have to tell police the location of their victim’s body before being eligible for parole.
This law is designed to encourage prisoners to co-operate with police investigations, and also to allow closure for grieving families.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told the media:
“We agree with the findings of the Sofronoff review that withholding the location of a body extends the suffering of victim’s families and all efforts should be made to attempt to minimise this sorrow.“
While any attempt to assuage the grief of a victim’s relatives is to be applauded, not everyone supports this particular change to the parole system. Terry O’Gorman from the Council for Civil Liberties believes the law creates a risk of keeping innocent people in prison, telling News.com.au:
“It’s a very gimmicky proposal and I understand why victims would want it, but under that proposal Lindy Chamberlain would never have been released.“
Other changes to the Queensland parole system include expanding drug and rehabilitation services and addiction therapies, putting in place one state-wide parole board in place of the several boards currently operating, and hundreds more staff over the next four years.